FOUR BALLADS AND ROMANCES (BALLADEN UND ROMANZEN) FOR TWO VOICES AND PIANO, OP. 75
Recording: Edith Mathis, soprano (Nos. 2-4); Brigitte Fassbaender, alto (Nos. 1-2) and soprano 2 (No. 4); Peter Schreier, tenor (Nos. 1, 3); Karl Engel, piano [DG 449 641-2]
Published 1878.  Dedicated to “his friend” Julius Allgeyer.

This is by far the greatest set of Brahms duets, but because all four of them are for different vocal combinations, at least two of them have become very difficult to find in later publications.  Nos. 2 and 4 are often published with the soprano/alto duets of Opp. 20, 61, and 66.  The other two, which feature a tenor (a voice not otherwise utilized in the duets) have become orphans, virtually impossible to find outside the old complete edition and its out-of-print reprints.  This is a sorry situation, as No. 1 is, again by far, the greatest Brahms duet of all and No. 3 is his only true love duet.  Despite the different vocal types, the set has some unity.  All four songs are dialogues, which is not the case with any set other than the “optional” duets, Op. 84 (which are usually included with the solo songs).  There are also some parallels to the alto/baritone set, Op. 28.  There is a long and highly dramatic opening number, a cheerful, teasing second duet, a highly lyrical third one, and a closer that is brief and exciting, but highly complex.  The first duet, Brahms’s only mother/son dialogue, is absolutely riveting and bone-chilling in its effect.  It sets a German translation of the grisly Scottish balled “Edward,” the poem that was the inspiration for the piano ballade, Op. 10, No. 1 (the two pieces are musically unrelated, however).  The exchanges of the dialogue gradually and inexorably reveal a terrible, but inescapable truth.  This is also true of the last duet in the set, the thrilling mother/daughter exchange that reveals the mother as a witch who has celebrated a Faustian Walpurgis Night.  The duet is indicated for two sopranos rather than the expected soprano/alto.  The mother’s lowest and highest notes are both more extreme than the daughter’s.  In this recording, the mother is sung by a true alto, making her final high notes strained and frightening, as they should be.  The middle duets are more lyrical and relaxed.  The second is another mother/daughter dialogue, but it is similar to those that will be found in the “optional” duets of the Op. 84 set, with the mother protesting the daughter’s feelings for a potential suitor.  The genuine love duet of No. 3 is different from those of tragic regret and unrequited teasing found in Op. 28.  The only real parallel is another of the “optional” duets, Op. 84, No. 5.  It is extremely serene and satisfying, and was unjustly criticized by Brahms’s female friends, Clara Schumann and Elisabeth von Hezogenberg.  It is the only one of the four where the two voices sing together at length.

Note: Links to English translations of the texts are from Emily Ezusts site at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder.  For the most part, the translations are line-by-line, except where the difference between German and English syntax requires slight alterations to the contents of certain lines.  The German texts (included here) are also visible in the translation links.  A link to the original Scots English text as well as a translation of Herder’s German into modern English is included for No. 1.

IMSLP WORK PAGE
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (First Edition from Brahms-Institut Lübeck)
ONLINE SCORE FROM IMSLP (From Breitkopf & Härtel Sämtliche Werke)


1. Edward. Text by Johann Gottfried Herder, adapted from a Scottish-English ballad collected by Thomas Percy. Allegro. Varied double strophic form. F MINOR, 4/4 time. Alto/Tenor.

German Text:
Dein Schwert, wie ist’s von Blut so rot?
Edward, Edward!
Dein Schwert, wie ist’s von Blut so rot?
Und gehst so traurig her? O!

O, ich hab geschlagen meinen Geier tot,
Mutter, Mutter!
O, ich hab geschlagen meinen Geier tot,
Und keinen hab ich wie er. O!

Deines Geiers Blut ist nicht so rot,
Edward, Edward!
Deines Geiers Blut ist nicht so rot,
Mein Sohn, bekenn mir frei! O!

O, ich hab geschlagen mein Rotroß tot,
Mutter, Mutter!
O, ich hab geschlagen mein Rotroß tot,
Und’s war so stolz und treu. O!

Dein Roß war alt und hast’s nicht not,
Edward, Edward!
Dein Roß war alt und hast’s nicht not,
Dich drückt ein andrer Schmerz. O!

O, ich hab geschlagen meinen Vater tot!
Mutter, Mutter!
O, ich hab geschlagen meinen Vater tot,
Und weh, weh ist mein Herz! O!

Und was für Buße willt du nun tun,
Edward, Edward?
Und was für Buße willt du nun tun?
Mein Sohn, bekenn’ mir mehr! O!

Auf Erden soll mein Fuß nicht ruhn!
Mutter, Mutter!
Auf Erden soll mein Fuß nicht ruhn!
Will gehn fern übers Meer! O!

Und was soll werden dein Hof und Hall,
Edward, Edward?
Und was soll werden dein Hof und Hall,
So herrlich sonst und schön? O!

Ich laß es stehn, bis es sink und fall!
Mutter, Mutter!
Ich laß es stehn, bis es sink und fall,
Mag nie es wiedersehn! O!

Und was soll werden dein Weib und Kind,
Edward, Edward?
Und was soll werden dein Weib und Kind,
Wann du gehst übers Meer? O!

Die Welt ist groß, laß sie betteln drin,
Mutter, Mutter!
Die Welt ist groß, laß sie betteln drin,
Ich seh sie nimmermehr! O!

Und was willt du lassen deiner Mutter teur,
Edward, Edward?
Und was willt du lassen deiner Mutter teur?
Mein Sohn, das sage mir! O!

Fluch will ich euch lassen und höllisch Feur,
Mutter, Mutter!
Fluch will ich euch lassen und höllisch Feur,
Denn Ihr, Ihr rietet’s mir! O!

Scottish-English text
, with a slightly different version of the German translation (The text version Brahms set, seen above, is actually closer to the original Scottish poem than the version on the right in this link.)

Modern English translation
of Herder’s German text


0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  In the two bars before the alto’s (mother’s) entrance with her first question, the piano left hand establishes a hushed, low and persistent pedal point on C.  The right hand plays broken octaves.  When she enters on an upbeat with her arching melody, the right hand plays arpeggios that conceal a doubling of the melody.  The repeated name “Edward” is given a characteristic falling third, and her melody ends with a half-cadence, reiterated by the descending half-step on “O!” which will become a “marker” for both the mother’s and son’s stanzas.  It is punctuated by an arching arpeggio on the “dominant” chord.
0:21 [m. 12]--Stanza 2.  The tenor’s (Edward’s) much narrower response heralds a change in the accompaniment.  The low pedal point moves to the off-beats, and it moves with the harmonies, especially at cadence points.  He also uses the falling third for his insistent “Mutter!” but it is a step lower than hers. The right hand arpeggios no longer double the melody, instead lightly harmonizing it.  His “O!” is also set to a falling half-step, a third higher than hers.  For his “O!” the arpeggio begins before he starts it, and it is extended for a full bar after he ends.  The harmony of the arpeggio, initially suggesting a motion away from F minor, changes to a “diminished seventh” in preparation for the mother’s next statement in the home key.
0:40 [m. 22]--Stanza 3.  The mother’s melody is the same, but the accompaniment is more dynamic.  The hands are now doubled in octaves (two octaves apart) on the short arpeggio figures, and they conceal both a doubling of the melody and the seemingly abandoned pedal point on C.  After a hint at a return to the pedal point, the short arpeggios continue under her “O!” replacing the long arching one and using new harmonies.
0:56 [m. 31]--Stanza 4.  Edward’s melody is also the same as it was in stanza 2, but as in the mother’s previous verse, the accompaniment is much more dynamic in both hands, the right hand arpeggios using more colorful harmonies and the off-beat bass line abandoning any semblance of a pedal point, moving almost constantly after the first bar.  The arpeggio under his “O!” is the same as it was in stanza 2 until the very end, where it leads to a brief and abrupt one-beat pause before the mother’s next entrance.
1:15 [m. 41]--Stanza 5.  The hands are again doubled in octaves, but this time they begin two beats before the alto’s entrance, and they initiate a canon (direct imitation) of the vocal melody, which she follows two beats later.  Despite the rapid arpeggios, the melody is clearly heard within the piano’s texture.  The canon breaks under the cries of “Edward,” where the piano simply helps reiterate the F-minor harmony.  It begins again at the reiteration of the text after the cries, but it now quickly breaks down in favor of doubling.  Despite the canon, the mother’s melody is as before, but now Brahms directs a slow and steady buildup of volume and intensity, punctuated at the end of the verse by the mother’s octave leap to a much shorter “O!”
1:29 [m. 50]--Stanza 6.  The song’s first climax culminates the first of two large waves of increasing intensity and complexity.  Abandoning his former narrow range, the tenor takes Edward’s shockingly revelatory words to a pitch level a fourth higher, and sings at full volume.  The harmony now emphasizes the related keys of D-flat major and B-flat minor, already hinted at during Stanza 4.  The accompaniment is completely new, with strong bass notes and solid block chords coming after the beats.  The final “O!” is notable both for using the pitches previously associated with the mother and for being stated twice, the second statement receding in volume and settling down.  The arpeggios under the statements of “O!” use the “diminished seventh” and continue to establish the F-minor key.
1:51 [m. 62]--Stanza 7.  The alto begins the second “wave” at a quiet level on her familiar melody.  The piano pedal point begins again, but it is now on the home keynote of F.  The right hand plays a triplet rhythm in groupings of six notes, which undulate.  The voice has one new chromatic inflection on the words “du nun.”  The piano adds accented notes to its texture under the reiterated cries of “Edward!”  From that point, the low bass moves away from the pedal point, but the upper octave persists on it, only moving away at the half-cadence.  The “O!” is back on its usual pitches, but the arpeggio under it is now in triplets.
2:07 [m. 71]--Stanza 8.  The tenor’s response is on his original melody and pitch level.  It is varied by continuing the triplet rhythm heard under the mother’s previous question in the right hand, now adding some two-note harmonies to the undulations.  The left hand bass off-beat punctuations typical of the son’s previous responses are again present, and while dynamic, they emphasize the pitches C and F, as they have done before.  His “O!” is also on the familiar pitches, with the arpeggio used in stanzas 2 and 4.
2:25 [m. 81]--Stanza 9.  The mother now ratchets up the tension by gradually rising in pitch on successive queries.  Here, the melody is set a step higher than in stanza 8.  The pedal point begins on B-flat (the “subdominant” note), and when it moves, it does so by descending half-steps and whole steps.  It ends on C at the close of the stanza.  The cries of “Edward!” are expanded from thirds to the highly unstable tritone (diminished fifth).  The arpeggio under “O!” (on new higher pitches) is again in triplets, but it now begins before she sings it, and it is in smaller groups instead of a larger arch.  The key veers toward D-flat major and minor at the end.
2:40 [m. 90]--Stanza 10.  Edward’s response stays on his old pitch level for now, but the accompaniment carries over from the triplets under the mother’s last “O!”  The off-beat punctuations are now in the right hand, and they only break the triplets twice, once before the repeated cries of “Mutter,” and again in the emphatic last line.  The triplets are freely passed between the hands and include several chromatic notes, but a doubling of the vocal line is concealed within.    The “O!” rises in pitch though, to notes suggesting a move to B-flat minor, and the arpeggio under it also shifts up.  For the first time, there is not a bar of separation between this “O!” and the mother’s next entry.
2:55 [m. 99]--Stanza 11.  The mother’s pitch level rises yet another step from her previous stanza.  The piano pedal point is on C, but it underlies highly unstable diminished harmony.  The tension is now at an almost unbearable level, and Brahms marks that the speed and the volume should steadily increase from this point.  The cries of “Edward!” are again on the uneasy tritone intervals.  The bass line is more active than in stanza 9.  The last vocal descent hints at E-flat minor, and a rising arpeggio in that key now underlies the “O!”  This is on the same pitches as in stanza 9.  The rising, sweeping arpeggios under the “O!” are new.
3:10 [m. 108]--Stanza 12.  Other than the outburst in stanza 6, all of Edward’s statements have been at the same pitch level.  Now, in the buildup to the last climax, he sings his normal melody, but it is a third higher, in the key of A-flat minor.  Under this statement, the piano resumes the triplet motion, which was absent in stanza 11, even under the mother’s “O!”  The triplets are now constant throughout the verse, and the vestiges of the off-beat punctuations are gone.  Triplet groups are passed between the hands, and are often harmonized.  Approaching the “O!” the piano moves to the sweeping, rising arpeggios heard in stanza 11 for the mother.  For the first and only time, the tenor sings the “O!” on a descending third instead of a half-step, and at the highest pitch level of any stanza-ending “O!” thus far.  Again, the mother enters directly.
3:25 [m. 117]--Stanza 13.  The mother’s climactic statement completes the gradual ascent and is in the key of B-flat minor.  It is her highest statement, and lies at top of the alto range, creating the effect of a strained voice.  The opening line is altered, with faster notes to accommodate the text and with a more emphatic cadence.  The cries of “Edward!” are now on perfect fifths for the only time.  The last two lines are as in other verses, but the “O!” is an octave leap, as in stanza 5, landing on her highest obligatory pitch.  The piano arpeggios are as usual, with some shadowing of the voice, but the bass is very active, with low octaves and fifths.
3:38 [m. 125]--Stanza 14.  The tenor sings his final verse at the same pitch level as the other climactic statement in stanza 6.  This time, though, the mother was already in the B-flat-minor key, so he can already enter on the high pitch rather than shooting up and changing key.  The accompaniment is much more emphatic than in stanza 6.  The chords are full and strong, entering on the beats as opposed to the previous off-beats.  There are sweeping arpeggios under the cries of “Mutter!”  At the last line, the tenor halts on the revelatory word “Ihr” and allows the piano chords to complete the melodic line.  He then repeats the fateful, accusatory word, wrenching his voice to the highest pitch of the song, A-flat.  He then strongly completes the line and moves back to F minor at the cadence.
3:53 [m. 133]--After the cadence, the tenor’s final statements of “O!” and the piano arpeggios underneath them are as they were in stanza 6, except that the first arpeggio before the vocal entry is already on a solid F minor.  This means that the “O!” is repeated, it is symbolically on the mother’s typical pitches, and the second one recedes.  The first bar after the second “O!” continues the piano arpeggios as after stanza 6, but it suddenly reverses dynamic course and intensifies.  An extra bar of F-minor descents is added, building to the last decisive chord.
4:10--END OF DUET [139 mm.]


2. Guter Rat (Good Advice). Text from the German folk collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn, edited by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim. Lebhaft und lustig (Lively and merrily); Allegretto giocoso (piano part). Combination of ternary and varied double strophic form. E MAJOR, 2/4 (and 6/8) time. Soprano/Alto.

German Text:
Ach Mutter, liebe Mutter,
Ach, gebt mir einen Rat!
Es reitet mir alle Frühmorgen
Ein hurtiger Reuter nach.

“Ach Tochter, liebe Tochter!
Den Rat, den geb’ ich dir:
Laß du den Reuter fahren,
Bleib noch ein Jahr bei mir!”

Ach Mutter, liebe Mutter,
Der Rat der ist nicht gut;
Der Reuter, der ist mir lieber
Als alle dein Hab und Gut.

“Ist dir der Reuter lieber
Als alle mein Hab und Gut,
So bind dein’ Kleider zusammen
Und lauf dem Reuter nach!”

Ach Mutter, liebe Mutter,
Der Kleider hab’ ich nicht viel;
Gib mir nur hundert Taler,
So kauf’ ich, was ich will.

“Ach Tochter, liebe Tochter!
Der Taler hab’ ich nicht viel;
Dein Vater hat alles verrauschet
In Würfel- und Kartenspiel.”

Hat mein Vater alles verrauschet
In Würfel- und Kartenspiel,
so sei es Gott geklaget,
Daß ich sein’ Tochter bin.

Wär’ ich ein Knab’ geboren,
Ich wollte ziehn über Feld,
Ich wollte die Trommel rühren
Dem Kaiser wohl um sein Geld.

English Translation
 
0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  An extended two-bar cadence with after-beat bass notes serves as an introduction.  The daughter (soprano) presents her jaunty melody for the first two lines as the piano moves to a steady bass and off-beat rolled chords in the right hand.  At the third line, both the voice and piano switch to a triplet rhythm.  The piano introduces a lightly “galloping” figure in this triplet rhythm at the mention of the rider.  The vocal line mixes triplets and straight rhythm.  The daughter repeats the last line, coming to a cadence as the piano settles down.  A two-bar bridge to the next stanza mixes triplet chords with a strong “straight” bass line.  The entire verse is light in character.
0:16 [m. 14]--Stanza 2.  The mother (alto) presents her verse in the “dominant” key of B major.  Her melody for the first two lines is essentially an inversion of the daughter’s, turning it upside down.  The accompaniment here again consists of the steady bass and off-beat right hand chords.  In the third line, she sweeps down, and the piano follows her with detached descending triplets in two-note harmonies, creating a cross rhythm (again in connection to the rider).  The old straight pattern is restored for the last line and its repetition, the latter coming to a cadence in B.  The bridge re-introduces the cross rhythm with right hand triplets, again off the beat.  The left hand harmonies arch up and back down, moving back home to E.
0:29 [m. 25]--Stanza 3.  The daughter’s vocal line, aside from some slight rhythmic variance, is the same as in stanza 1.  The accompaniment is varied.  In the first two lines, the right hand now plays steadily rather than only off the beat under the first two lines, and it arches in the opposite direction from the left hand.  The third line again introduces triplet rhythms in connection to the rider, but now only in the right hand, off the beat as in the preceding bridge.  The left hand continues its steady, detached, arching lines.  The repetition of the last line and the following bridge are as in stanza 1.
0:41 [m. 36]--Stanza 4.  The mother’s melody, again in B major, is as in stanza 2.  For the first three lines, the accompaniment is the same as well, including the detached descending triplet harmonies under the third line.  Vocal notes are split into shorter repetitions for “alle” and “Kleider.”  The last line and its repetition reverse the direction of the left hand’s arching motion, and the right hand now adds emphasis to the cadence in a harmonized descent.  The bridge is the same as that after stanza 2, with off-beat right hand triplets.
0:53 [m. 47]--Stanza 5.  The next three stanzas form a sort of middle section with harmonic and melodic digressions.  Here, the daughter turns to G major.  Her melody is similar, but its direction is closer to the mother’s previous lines.  The accompaniment is also much smoother, with longer lines of right hand harmonies that still mostly begin off the beat.  At the third line, the daughter moves to triplet rhythm as usual, and the piano stays in straight rhythm, but the piano introduces a descending chromatic (half-step) line under the daughter’s plea for money.  The repetition of the last line reiterates “so kauf ich” in a strong manner before continuing the line, this time without leading to a full cadence.  The usual bridge is omitted.
1:07 [m. 58]--Stanza 6.  The unpleasant revelation of the father’s gambling prompts a motion to the minor--E minor, related to the previous G major.  The first two lines of the mother here have the same direction as the daughter’s in stanza 5, and the accompaniment is even more flowing than it was there, incorporating the left hand in the smooth motion.  At the motion to triplets in the third line, the mother’s direction reverses that of the daughter’s, and the chromatic half-step line is also reversed to an ascent.  The left hand introduces mild syncopation.  The last line and its repetition, including a reiteration of “in Würfel,” follow the previous direction of the daughter in stanza 5.  Here, unlike in stanza 5, the right hand moves back to triplets, clashing with the left hand syncopation.  Again there is no full cadence and no bridge.
1:20 [m. 69]--Stanza 7.  The end of stanza 6 has moved to B minor, where stanza 7 will be set.  Breaking the pattern somewhat, the daughter’s first two lines represent a transposed version of the mother’s LAST two lines in stanza 6, without the repetition, and with greater intensity.  The accompaniment under this is the same ascending chromatic line, but it is enhanced by rolled chords and a more active left hand.  The last two lines represent the climax of the duet, and consist of completely new material.  The daughter reaches her highest notes in the lamenting line, and both hands of the piano are heavy, with rolled chords, contrary motion, and the return of the after-beat chords.  The entire two lines are repeated and intensified, and the last line is stretched out through longer notes to twice its length.  There is a full cadence in B minor.
1:35 [m. 81]--Stanza 8.  The meter shifts to 6/8 time, with triple division of the beat, but Brahms retains a parenthetical 2/4 because of the many cross rhythms at the end of the verse.  He also places a new marking of “Lebhaft” (“Lively”).  The bridge at the cadence shifts B minor to B major, leading back to the home key of E.  It introduces tremolo figures suggesting drum rolls.  The daughter’s melody is a 6/8 version of the one used for stanzas 1 and 3, and the piano passes two-note figures between the hands, which move in opposite directions, also in the 6/8 meter.  This pattern persists for the first two lines.
1:43 [m. 87]--The piano “drum rolls” return with the third line, and here also begin the cross rhythms.  The vocal melody still matches stanzas 1 and 3, but both the voice and piano sing and play more and more duple groupings from the previous 2/4 meter, usually one against continuing 6/8 motion in the other.  The piano is completely in the duple groupings in the first statement of the last line.  Both piano and voice return to pure 6/8 for the repetition of the last line, which is a joyous and exuberant phrase with a vocal flourish and bright rolled piano chords.
1:50 [m. 93]--The postlude, beginning with the last vocal cadence, introduces a new cross grouping.  Both hands of the piano are still in 6/8, but the left hand groups its notes as if it were in 3/4 (not 2/4).  The hands converge, the right hand descending and the left ascending (in two waves) before coming together on the last punctuating chords with their reiterated cadence.  The exuberant mood of the last vocal line carries through this postlude.
2:00--END OF DUET [96 mm.]



3. So laß uns wandern (So let us wander). Text by Josef Wenzig, after a Czech folk poem. Anmutig bewegt und sehr innig (With graceful motion and very heartfelt); Andante grazioso e molto espressivo (piano part). Combination of ternary and varied strophic form. D MAJOR, 4/4 time. Soprano/Tenor.

German Text:
Ach Mädchen, liebes Mädchen,
Wie schwarz dein Auge ist!
Fast fürcht’ ich, es verzaubert
Mich einst voll arger List.

“Und wär’ mein Auge schwärzer,
Um vieles schwärzer noch,
Dich, Liebster mein, verzaubern,
Ich tät’ es niemals doch.”

Die Kräh’ auf jener Eiche,
Sieh, wie sie Eicheln pickt!
Wer weiß, wen einst der Himmel
Zum Bräutigam dir schickt!

“Und sprich, wen soll er schicken?
Ich gab ja dir mein Wort,
Weißt, unterm grünen Baume,
Bei unsrer Hütte dort.”

Wohlan, so laß uns wandern,
Du wanderst frisch mit mir;
Ein Kleid von grüner Farbe,
Mein Mädchen, kauf’ ich dir.

“Ein Kleid von grüner Farbe,
Das auch nicht gar zu lang:
So kann ich mit dir wandern,
Nichts hindert mich im Gang.”

Ein Kleid von grüner Farbe,
Das auch nicht gar zu lang:
So kannst du mit mir wandern,
Nichts hindert dich im Gang.

Wir wollen lustig wandern,
Bergüber und talein;
Die großen, freien Wälder
Sind unser Kämmerlein.

English Translation

0:00 [m. 1]--Stanza 1.  The two-bar introduction anticipates the opening of the vocal line in bright chords.  The first gesture rises lower than the voice will, the second higher.  When the tenor enters with the same gesture, the three top notes form the chord of the home key, D major.  The vocal line itself arches gracefully.  The flowing accompaniment contains some rolled chords in the left hand.  The second and third lines include a gently anxious turn to E minor  A repetition of the last two lines leads back home.  Its last notes are lengthened, extending the phrase.  The cadence overlaps with the soprano’s entry.
0:28 [m. 15]--Stanza 2.  The soprano, overlapping with the tenor’s cadence, sings the same vocal line that he did, but the accompaniment is changed because of her higher register.  The first part of the flowing line is an octave lower, with the rolled chords moving above it.  The actual shape begins to change under the second and third lines, but the flowing line generally remains lower than in stanza 1.  Under the repetition of the last two lines, the piano closely matches stanza 1.  Unlike the tenor, the soprano does not lengthen her last notes, but the cadence is more complete, without overlap.  The one-bar bridge is syncopated.
0:50 [m. 27]--Stanza 3.  The third and fourth stanzas form the middle section.  The tenor’s line here is more static, but it makes a harmonic turn toward G major.  The accompaniment continues the syncopation of the bridge, then includes harmonized long-short (dotted) rhythms.  The tenor returns to the more arching motion in the last two lines, which make another slightly aching, anxious turn to a minor key, this time F-sharp, the note on which the syncopated notes in the piano settle.
1:07 [m. 35]--Stanza 4.  The soprano’s first two lines and her accompaniment match the tenor’s in stanza 3.    The last two lines make a subtle, but highly effective and warm shift, moving to F major instead of F-sharp minor.  Both the accompaniment and the vocal line are slightly embellished, the soprano reaching higher on “unsrer” than the tenor did in his entire stanza.  The end of the stanza is the emotional crux of the duet.
1:24 [m. 43]--Stanza 5.  The tension resolved, the tenor joyfully returns to the opening melody for this stanza, which includes the duet’s title.  The accompaniment is much richer now, with full harmonies and off-beat right hand chords.  Where the repetition of the last two lines is expected, the stanza breaks off and merges with stanza 6, whose opening line is the same as the closing line of this verse.
1:39 [m. 51]--Stanza 6.  The text of this stanza is given twice above (appearing as stanzas 6 and 7) to accommodate the fact that the the soprano’s text is in first person and the tenor’s is in second person.  Otherwise, the sense of the words is exactly the same.  The voices finally join together in harmony.  The first line begins like the repetition of the text in stanzas 1 and 2 that was omitted in stanza 5.  It quickly deviates and builds, however, reaching a small climax and again emphasizing G major.  The excited voices repeat the last line, reaching a dramatic pause on the expectant “dominant” chord of D major.  The accompaniment continues in the character of stanza 5.
2:01 [m. 61]--Stanza 7 (given as stanza 8 above).  The original music used for stanzas 1, 2, and 5 returns, complete with the repetition of the last two lines.  The soprano sings her melody from stanza 2, but lengthens the last notes of the repeated text, as the tenor did in stanza 1.  The tenor adds a highly elaborate harmonic and contrapuntal line, bridging to the repeated text with a soaring arch on an extra statement of “die großen.”  He also adds leaping notes in the lengthened cadence.  The brief postlude begins with a syncopated version of the introductory bars from the very beginning, but then arches back down in rich harmony.
2:40--END OF DUET [76 mm.]


4. Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night). Text by Willibald Alexis. Presto. Through-composed form with regular phrases in dialogue. A MINOR, 2/4 time in vocal parts, 6/8 in piano. Soprano 1/Soprano 2.

German Text:
Lieb’ Mutter, heut’ Nacht heulte Regen und Wind.
»Ist heute der erste Mai, liebes Kind!«

Lieb’ Mutter, es donnerte auf dem Brocken oben.
»Lieb’ Kind, es waren die Hexen droben.«

Liebe Mutter, ich möcht’ keine Hexen sehn.
»Liebes Kind, es ist wohl schon oft geschehn.«

Liebe Mutter, ob im Dorf wohl Hexen sind?
»Sie sind dir wohl näher, mein liebes Kind.«

Ach, Mutter, worauf fliegen die Hexen zum Berg?
»Auf Nebel, auf Rauch, auf loderndem Werg.«

Ach, Mutter, worauf reiten die Hexen beim Spiel?
»Sie reiten, sie reiten den Besenstiel.«

Ach, Mutter, was fegten im Dorfe die Besen!
»Es sind auch viel Hexen auf’m Berge gewesen.«

Ach, Mutter, was hat es im Schornstein gekracht!
»Es flog auch wohl Eine hinaus über Nacht.«

Ach, Mutter, dein Besen war die Nacht nicht zu Haus!
»Lieb’s Kind, so war er zum Brocken hinaus.«

Ach, Mutter, dein Bett war leer in der Nacht!
»Deine Mutter hat oben auf dem Blocksberg gewacht.«

English Translation  NOTE: This translation is based on an older version of Alexis
s poem.  Brahms set a revised version (given above).  The most important differences in the translation are as follows:  In all couplets from the fifth, the daughters address Dear should be replaced with the interjection O.”  The mothers Dear child addresses are also absent except for the ninth couplet.  The mothers response in the fifth couplet should be On mist, on smoke, on burning flax.  In the sixth couplet, at their play should replace the directional to their gatherings in the daughters line.  In the seventh couplet, the daughters statement should be how the brooms were sweeping in the village! instead of I saw many brooms in the village.  The eighth couplet should be O mother, what a crash there was in the chimney!/One perhaps flew out of it overnight.  Blocksberg should be replaced with Brocken in the ninth couplet.

0:00 [m. 1]--The introduction is based on a rising chromatic figure that begins off the beat against an oscillating left hand.  This figure, here richly harmonized, provides the basis for much of the succeeding accompaniment.  The piano part is in 6/8, where it will remain throughout, clashing with the “straight” 2/4 meter of the voices.  The introduction is extended to six bars by a half-cadence and a pause.
0:06 [m. 7]--First couplet.  The daughter’s line begins with a large leap and then generally ascends, although it is characterized by declamatory three-note descents before a final questioning leap.  The introductory figure is in the tenor range of the piano left hand.  The mother’s response is a straightforward descent, under which the piano adds a more solid bass line that doubles the voice three octaves lower, and the right hand has more syncopation.  She ends on a half-cadence that leads to the next exchange.
0:12 [m. 15]--Second couplet.  The exchange is similar to the first, but intensified slightly by a triplet rhythm in the daughter’s line and a large closing downward leap on the downbeat from both characters (in the daughter’s case, an octave leap).  The mother’s leap overlaps with the next exchange.
0:19 [m. 23]--Third couplet.  Although the basic lines are the same for both characters, they are somewhat more dramatic.  The daughter’s upbeat adds another note to lengthen “Lieb’” to “Liebe.”  She also inverts the second three-note descent, leading to a change in harmony.  The mother confirms this by shifting to the related major key of C.  Her line is also less of a straightforward descent.
0:25 [m. 31]--Fourth couplet.  The daughter’s line begins as in the third exchange, but the three-note ascent becomes a two-note skip because of declamation, and then she stretches the leap on “Hexen” to an octave, leading to a new related key, E minor.  The mother’s line is similar to that in the first two exchanges, but with a new downward leap.  Also, the statement both begins and ends in E minor (altering the line at the end), so the end sounds like a full close instead of a half-cadence.
0:31 [m. 39]--Fifth couplet.  As the daughter drops “Lieb’” and “Liebe” (“dear”) from her addresses to the mother, who is emerging more clearly as a witch, her line moves up a third, again suggesting C major.  The motive from the introduction moves lower, to the bass register.  The right hand loses its off-beat character, moving higher and adding bell-like downbeats.  The mother’s response is completely changed.  It has three large leaps (two fourths and a fifth) in its descent, but is still partly doubled in the bass line.  It also has a new accompaniment in the right hand that resembles the daughter’s main melody.  Her cadence moves decisively to C minor, ending with her lowest note (lower than the daughter ever reaches).
0:38 [m. 47]--Sixth couplet.  With the building tension, the daughter shifts up a half-step to D-flat major.  Her line is somewhat altered again, adding a downward leap and return of a fifth in the middle.  The accompaniment is similar to the fifth exchange.  The mother sings her line, with its accompaniment, from the fifth exchange, but it is also shifted up a half-step, to C-sharp (D-flat) minor.
0:44 [m. 55]--Seventh couplet.  There is a significant change in the vocal lines of both characters.  The daughter retains the internal leap and return from the last exchange, but the three-note descents are replaced by repeated notes on C-sharp.  The piano also changes, playing static broken octaves with accents.  What the mother sings is essentially an inversion of the daughter’s line from the sixth couplet, with rising three-note groups and an internal leap and return UP a fifth in the middle, but it adds another upward leap at the end.  The mother’s accompaniment is very artful.  It is the ORIGINAL form of the daughter’s line from the sixth couplet, with the introduction motive in the bass, the first time it has accompanied the mother.  The key seems to shift up another half-step, to D minor, but it is very unstable and without a clear arrival.
0:51 [m. 63]--Eighth couplet.  Both voices, with their accompaniments, sing their lines as in the seventh exchange, but again shifted up a half-step and suggesting E-flat minor at the end.
0:57 [m. 71]--Ninth couplet.  The vocal lines and their accompaniments are essentially as in the last two exchanges, but the tension and drama is wrenched even tighter by faster upward shifts.  The daughter shifts up a half-step, as expected, but the second half of her line shifts up ANOTHER half-step.  As a result, the mother begins a WHOLE step higher than in the eighth exchange, and she also makes her own half-step shift halfway through her line.  She reaches her highest pitch at the last leap.  The harmonic result is a shift up three levels, ending with F-sharp minor.  The volume also dramatically builds.
1:03 [m. 79]--Tenth couplet.  For the last exchange, the daughter has nearly lost her mind.  She adds more downward leaps than in the previous statements, and again shifts up two half-steps, up to G-sharp.  The accompaniment is similar to her last statements, but it adds some double notes.  Suddenly, there is a dramatic pause, the first in the whole duet.  The daughter’s highest pitch is G-sharp, which is still lower than the mother’s highest pitch of A.  The harmony under the G-sharp is the “dominant” chord of the home key, A minor, preparing the decisive return that will come with the mother’s last frenzied cries.
1:06 [m. 84]--The mother’s final entrance is delayed a bar by the pause.  She changes her line, adding descending broken chords and emphasizing her strained highest note.  The last leap is extended by a bar, making a five-measure phrase.  The accompaniment here is greatly changed.  For the first time, the right hand actually adopts the “straight” rhythm as well as the melody, originally associated with the daughter, that has accompanied the mother since the seventh exchange.  The left hand, while retaining vestiges of the introduction motive, also undermines the 6/8 flow with groupings that are more like 3/4.
1:10 [m. 89]--The mother repeats her last words, quite shockingly, to the daughter’s original melody (as altered with the inner leap and return, as in the sixth couplet, which has formed the mother’s accompaniment since the seventh exchange), thus completely subsuming her.  She stretches the last words, “Blocksberg gewacht,” with longer notes, bringing the phrase to six bars and ending with the strained high A.  The motive from the introduction moves to the right hand, with full harmony, bringing the duet full circle.  The left hand plays arpeggios. 
1:15 [m. 94]--The accompaniment pattern continues in the postlude, which merges with the mother’s last note and continues with three statements of the motive until sharp chords in A major (not minor), end the duet.
1:27--END OF DUET [99 mm.] (runoff after 1:22)
END OF SET



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